A few weeks ago I spent an entire Wednesday eating pistachios because I was balls deep in my own overwhelm. Eventually, surrounded by empty shells and my own tears, I took it upon myself to write this blog in the hope that I spare you, dear reader the torment of your own procrastination (the number one symptom of overwhelm).
The following day, blog unfinished, I was wondering around the internet and I saw this quote which was cited to UNKNOWN AUTHOR.
So, in the interests of not wanting this little quote to feel abandoned and unloved, I’m claiming it as my own!
And I reckon this is a great place to start.
Because it is my observation that most of the overwhelm we feel as real life human beings comes from the anticipation of the future.
You see back in the day; us humans weren’t the fastest mammals. Nor were we the strongest, nor were we blessed with wings, or sharp fangs or any of the cool shit you see on a David Attenborough doco or in the Natural History Museum.
In fact, we were kinda crap. And as good old Darwin noted, the crap ones died pretty quickly in the wild.
So, Homosapiens developed something which other animals didn’t and this thing gave us our competitive edge (and also cute things like shoes). We developed our brain.
We started evolving the old noggin to do crazy shit that other beasts couldn’t like predict, imagine and recall emotional memory. And this super power gave us the ability to produce tools which meant it was Sabre Tooth Tiger 0, Human 1.
But we didn’t stop at a few spears. Oh no. We got on one, and before we knew it we were imagining and building all sorts of amazing things. Cities were built, farming became a thing and nek minute, we were flying through the air in metal ships and face timing Auntie Sue in Singapore.
With this great gift came a payoff.
With the ability to think, came the ability to think.
No other being on planet earth has the ability to synthesise or imagine or make shit up.
We can project ourselves into the future and recall painful memories from the past. And when I say recall, I mean like actually RELIVE that shit.
And so the cluster-fuck of being a human began to run rampage!
We began to wake up in the morning and imagine all the things that could go wrong.
Before we rolled out of bed we dragged up the emotion of fear from the memory bank (which by the way didn’t even need to be real. Memories can be imagined too. Or embellished. Or borrowed. Ever watched a scary movie? I watched Jaws once and although I’ve never even seen a Great White in real life let alone been attacked by one, I’m scared shitless of the buggers! See how it works?) and then we attached this fear to the imagined thing that COULD go wrong. Now we could FEEL the future which we’d just totally made up in our own heads.
And that basically brings us up to the current epidemic we see, hear and feel today. Yep, our super power is also the super curse which presents itself as anxiety (which is a blog for another time) but it also shows up as overwhelm.
Now overwhelm isn’t just the “WHAT IF” voice inside your head. It’s also the “WHAT THE FUCK” voice the reverberates when there is too much uncertainty in life.
Uncertainty has too many variables so it’s prime fodder for that pesky brain of ours to start making shit up!
Take this ‘Unashamedly Human’ human writing this blog right now as an example.
I’m launching another "Life Of Your Dreams" personal development program (for women who want to learn how to manifest in love, money, happiness, self-love - find out if you're a fit for this exclusive program by having a chat with me here), facilitating my next masterclass (Melbourne, you can attend LIVE for only $37! Check it out here) running a FREE group with new free courses coming soon (join here), coaching my current clients, writing a book, developing my first ever course designed specifically for women in business (COMING SOON. If you're interested in being part of this amazing opportunity, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org) and being the sole owner and operator of my own business. Add onto that family, friends, moving house, my pet hamster – okay I don’t have a hamster. But life is busy and much of what I’m doing is totally uncertain. So yeah, I get overwhelmed.
When I get overwhelmed, what do I do?
Eat pistachios and cry apparently!
But I tend to save that tactic for my PMS days. Normally, I utilise a range of techniques which steer me away from procrastination and back into action.
But wait, why do we procrastinate when we’re overwhelmed?
Short story – The uncertainty is too much to bear so we find ourselves clutching onto the things we feel certain about like cleaning the kitchen, arranging our Michael Bolton CD’s (because we’re still in the 90’s?) or drinking all of the wine.
OR we numb to distract from the overwhelm and that looks like watching TV, fucking around on social media (so we can up the anti on feeling shit as we compare ourselves to stick insect models with oversized lips) or drinking all of the wine… You get the picture!
So, what are these anti-procrastination tools of which I speak? Well in the interests of time, I’m gonna give you my top three.
1. Stay in the present.
Worrying about what might happen is what got you here in the first place. Adopt some mindfulness techniques INSTANTLY to bring you back to the NOW. I regularly run FREE courses in my Facebook Group about mindfulness and you can join here.
2. Get some boundaries and learn to say no.
I say this with love – no one is impressed by how busy you are. It is not a sign of achievement to be so busy that you lose your shit. Your busyness does not define your worth on this planet and frankly if you haven’t worked out that rest and play are INTEGRAL to living a wholehearted existence then hear this from someone other than me.
Saying no to baking 200 dog treats for your mate’s puppy’s 1st birthday will not end the world nor your friendship. The brief moment of discomfort when you say “I’m honoured that you asked me but right now I have too much on” is far better than the impending mental breakdown and hard core resentment of banging out 200 dog treats at 2am.
Sometimes I too take on too much. And when that happens, I delegate (go make your own fucking dog treats – just kidding!), ask for help (someone make these dog treats with me! Go on, it’ll be fun!) prioritise and postpone.
3. Just start.
When I first started out in business I didn’t have a fucking clue what I was doing and that was very overwhelming. I had all these big ideas - more than I could possibly execute not that I knew HOW to execute them which only added to the uncertainty! And then one day a mentor of mine said “how do you eat an elephant?” Not really in the mood for joke banter, I asked him what the fuck he was on about. And he answered “one bite at a time and with relish”. Since that day, I do life one bite at a time, without the need to be perfect (because I’m far from it). And the more I chew through life with faith in my heart, staying mindfully present and true to my Soul, I find myself less and less surrounded by pistachio shells and tears.
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Thanks very much for reading. Em x
Big love, Em x